UFC 302: Makhachev vs. Poirier Main Events Betting Odds & Picks

31 May 24
UFC
News - UFC
UFC 302: Makhachev vs. Poirier Main Events Betting Odds & Picks

After a few underwhelming cards in a row following the massive event that was UFC 300, the promotion is finally back with a stacked PPV card for UFC 302: Makhachev vs. Poirier. The card doesn’t have a ton of ranked talent, but it’s got well-known fighters that always deliver fireworks. The main and co-main events, however, feature four top-ranked contenders, including a highly-anticipated title fight between champ Islam Makhachev and UFC legend Dustin Poirier.

Highlights

  • Islam Makhachev last suffered defeat when Barack Obama was still the U.S. President
  • Poirier will be desperate to keep the fight standing, but he won’t succeed
  • Sean Strickland will pick apart an over-the-hill Paulo Costa

UFC 302: Islam Makhachev vs. Dustin Poirier Betting Odds

The main event will feature Makhachev (25-1) making his third title defense, though No. 4 Dustin Poirier (30-8, 1 NC) will be the first natural lightweight to challenge his belt. In the co-main event we get former middleweight champ and No. 1 contender Sean Strickland (28-6) dancing with the always dangerous No. 7 Paulo Costa (14-3) in what could turn out to be a disappointing battle. All odds provided by Sports Interaction.

(C) Islam Makhachev vs. No. 4 Dustin Poirier Lightweight Bout Odds

FighterMoneylineWin by KO/TKO/DQWin by SubmissionWin by DecisionRoundsTo Go Distance
Islam Makhachev-588+275-120+500O1.5 (-159)Yes (+350)
Dustin Poirier +425+650+1,800+1,400U1.5 (+120)No (-588)

This is a classic grappler vs. striker matchup, but it’s also a real heart over head decision for UFC fans, especially considering the disparity of the UFC betting odds here. Poirier has been fighting in the UFC since 2011, before it was cool to watch MMA.

He’s fought any and everyone in the lightweight division over the years, and while he has earned an interim belt, he’s never won the real thing. We want him to get it, but this guy from Dagestan is just so darn good.

We can convince ourselves that Poirier might be the very best striker that Makhachev has taken on, but the same probably goes for Poirier when it comes to grapplers and wrestlers—apart from one guy, but he’ll be in Makhachev’s corner on Saturday night in Jersey anyway.

It comes down to: how good is the other guy at his opponent’s strength? The answer is, Makhachev has proven in recent fights that he’s a much better striker than he used to be, while grappling and takedown defense are still things that plague Poirier even after all of these years.

Poirier is an old-fashioned brawler who is also as technically proficient on the feet as anyone in the division. Always has been and always will be. He has even tried to bait Makhachev into standing and boxing with him at the pre-fight pressers, though Makhachev clearly knows the situation, as he pointed out that Poirier has struggled against wrestlers all his career, which is true.

When Poirier told him “Listen to your coaches, you should stand and box with me,” Makhachev seemed utterly unperturbed by the request, which almost came off as begging in the end, and replied “this is MMA brother, not boxing.” Fair enough, worth a shot though, right Diamond?

Poirier seems to know what time it is, and this feels like a legacy play for the UFC anyway. Makhachev’s 63 percent takedown average against Poirier’s subpar 60 percent takedown defense paints a pretty stark picture here.

Obviously the moneyline is off the table at -588 odds, but Makhachev’s -120 odds to win via submission are a good safe bet; Poirier has a history of submitting against top grapplers, having done so against Charles Oliveira and Khabib Nurmagomedov. He nearly suffered another one in his last fight, a comeback win over submission artist Benoit Saint-Denis that probably paved the way for this matchup.

No. 1 Sean Strickland vs. No. 7 Paulo Costa Middleweight Bout Odds

FighterMoneylineWin by KO/TKO/DQWin by SubmissionWin by DecisionRoundsTo Go Distance
Sean Strickland-250+175+175+150O3.5 (-145)Yes (+110)
Paulo Costa+200+325+2,000+750U3.5 (+110)No (-149)

We said the co-main event could be a bit of a disappointment because most of Sean Strickland’s fights are boring (except when he shocks the world to win the belt), a far cry from his colorful and sometimes borderline insane persona outside of the octagon. He’s not a risk-taker in the cage, and he can pick apart anyone, even the strikers with the best defensive boxing in the game.

Paulo Costa certainly doesn’t fall into the category of defensive boxer anyway. The hope here is that he can land a few shots to make Strickland open up rather than hitting him from range and bouncing around for the full 25 minutes, which is the more likely scenario. Costa has low fight IQ, he’s lost three of his last four fights, and he hasn’t knocked anyone out since 2018.

Strickland at -250 is not worth it considering the power Costa still holds in those wild fists, but the +150 odds being offered by Ontario sportsbooks for Strickland by decision are much more our speed. Strickland has only one knockout in his last nine bouts, and Costa has only been knocked out once in his career, and that was courtesy of Israel Adesanya. Costa’s got a concrete chin no matter what you think of his defense.

Alex is a recent graduate of Ryerson's Sport Media program in 2019 and has been contributing to BettingTop10 since 2020. He has worked in the field of sports and sports betting for several years, including writing for theScore and daily fantasy sports website FantasyPros as one of their lead NBA news writers. A dedicated sports fan and experienced sports bettor, Alex has the knowledge to provide you with the best betting advice and the sneakiest props no matter what the sport may be.